Rashi's Commentary on Psalms

By Mayer I. Gruber | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

I. Rashi's Life: An Overview

Rashi (Heb. RŠY,

) is the acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, i.e., Rabbi Solomon son of Isaac.1 He was born in the city of Troyes, the capital of the province of Champagne in Northern France. On the basis of a responsum of R. Solomon b. Jehiel Luria (1510–1571) it is commonly held that Rashi was born in the year of

1 The acronym RŠY was also popularly interpreted to mean Rabban shel
Yisrael “the Teacher of Israel” (V. Aptowitzer, Introductio ad Sefer Rabiah "Jerusa-
lem: Mekize Nirdamim, 1938", p. 395; Samuel M. Blumenfield, Master of Troyes:
A Study of Rashi the Educator "New York: Behrman House for the Jewish Institute
of Religion, 1946", p. 3; Esra Shereshevsky, Rashi: The Man and His World "New
York: Sepher-Hermon, 1982", p. 1), an allusion to the fact that Rashi's commen-
taries on the Bible and the Babylonian Talmud have been for the Jews during the
past nine centuries the two most influential corpora of sacred texts after the Bible
and the Talmud themselves. The apostate Raymond Martini (1220–1285) seems
to have been the first to misinterpret the initials RŠY as Rabbi Salomo Yarhi (also
spelled Jarhi). See Maurice Liber, Rashi, trans. Adele Szold (Philadelphia: Jewish
Publication Society, 1906), p. 34. The misinterpretation was taken over by the
German Christian Hebraist Sebastian Münster (1489–1552) in his list of the six
hundred and thirteen commandments taken from the Sepher Mitzvot Gadol by
the thirteenth century R. Moses b. Jacob of Coucy. Consequently, Rashi was so
designated by various Christian and Jewish authors from the sixteenth to the
nineteenth centuries. These authors include Johann Breithaupt in his Latin trans-
lation of Rashi's commentaries on the Pentateuch (Gotha: Andrea Schalius,
1710), the Prophets, Job, and Psalms (Gotha: Andrea Schalius, 1713). Hayyim
Joseph David Azulai (b. Jerusalem c. 1724; d. Leghorn 1807) in his Hebrew trea-
tise, The Names of the Great Ones suggested that Rashi was called Yarhi because
“Rashi or his father was originally from Lunel.” "Note that the provençal city of
Lunel was designated in Heb. Yeriho, i.e., Jericho, because the latter name was
perceived to be derived from Heb. yārēăḥ 'moon' while the name Lunel was per-
ceived to be derived from the French equivalent lune". Subsequently it was be-
lieved that Rashi was none other than R. Solomon Hacohen of Lunel mentioned
in The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, ed. Marcus Nathan Adler (London: H.
Frowde, 1907), p. 4. In fact, all we know of the latter Solomon is that he was one
of the prominent Jews of Lunel when Benjamin the Traveller passed through
there in 1160 C.E. See Leopold Zunz, “Heisst Raschi Jarchi?” Israelitische Annalen
(1839), pp. 328–315, reprinted in L. Zunz, Gesammelte Schriften (Berlin: Louis
Gerschel Verlag, 1875), pp. 100–105; see also Maurice Liber, “Rashi,” JE 10:324.
Recently Menahem Banitt, Rashi: Interpreter of the Biblical Letter (Tel Aviv: Chaim
Rosenberg School of Jewish Studies, Tel Aviv University, 1985), pp. 166–168 ar-
gued that the designation of Rashi as Yitzhaki rather than b. Yitzhak points to
the Italian origin of the family.

-1-

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Rashi's Commentary on Psalms
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Brill Reference Library of Judaism ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Table of Abbreviations x
  • Preface xiv
  • Introduction 1
  • Rashi's Introduction to the Psalter in English with Notes1 165
  • Rashi's Commentary on Psalms in English with Notes 171
  • Bibliography 765
  • Foreword to Hebrew Section 801
  • Abbreviations Employed in the Manuscript 807
  • Hebrew Text of Rashi's Commentary on Psalms 809
  • Indices 863
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